Howie Bennis is a busy guy this time of year. My neighbor, driveway snowplow guy extraordinaire, former mayor and lifelong Deephaven resident comes from a family that used to tend a local veggie farm back in the day. The Huttner boys used to get some work picking veggies when we were kids. These days Howie farms maple trees to produce the sweet nectar that is Minnesota maple syrup.
Today is the kind of weather maple sappers love. Sunny skies, below freezing in the morning, above freezing in the afternoon. That usually gets the trees running pretty good.
I remeber field trips to the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum when we were kids. We'd tour the woods and taste the ever so slightly sweet sap running from the sugar maples. Then we'd head into the cooking house to see the big steel vats of sap boiling down all day to produce maple syrup. If I remember my math right, it takes about 40 gallons of maple sap to get one gallon of maple syrup.
I think I'll stop by Howie's place this weekend. Writing this blog is making me hungry to eat a stack of pancakes drenched in the delicious mapley goodness that's running out of the trees near the Weather Lab.
Thanks for a great post! Maple syruping is a fabulous time of year unique to northeast North America. There are opportunities to get involved throughout the state. Check out Saint John's Arboretum's Maple Syrup Festivals, Saturdays, March 27 and April 10 at Saint John's Abbey & University in Collegeville. www.csbsju.edu/arboretum
We had always been told the ratio was 40:1 as well. But this spring our sap was cooking down at 20:1. It's a fascinating process to watch. Homemade maple syrup always tastes better too!